If there’s one company that could possibly take on Tesla with a self-driving vehicle, many peg Apple to do so.
According to the latest report from Reuters, Apple’s autonomous car efforts are apparently well underway and are said to possibly emerge by 2024.
“Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology,” said people familiar with the matter, reports Reuters.
Apple’s secretive ‘Project Titan’ has seen set backs over the years, but sources tell the publication Apple now has made enough progress to produce a consumer vehicle.
What would power this self-driving Apple car? Apparently, Apple has “a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design.”
Apple looks to use a “monocell” design, to go with LFP, or lithium iron phosphate chemistry for batteries, which do not overheat compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.
“It’s next level,” said an unnamed source, describing Apple’s battery efforts. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone.”
“If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. But at the same time, it’s not a cellphone,” said a source that worked on Project Titan.
Apple would rely on a supply chain partner to build its vehicle, says Reuters. One person did add the project could result in just self-driving tech for traditional carmakers, instead of a branded-car.
Apple Car update: we're digging into the Reuter's story…more to come from our end
— Gene Munster (@munster_gene) December 21, 2020
Production could be pushed to 2025 due to the COVID-19 delays, say two unnamed sources. Apple’s car might use multiple LiDAR for scanning, say sources. Some may be made in-house, note sources.
Tesla’s Autopilot with Full Self-Driving relies on cameras to process information, instead of LiDAR, which CEO Elon Musk says is inferior.
One source said a viable automobile assembly plant would require 100,000 vehicles produced annually.
The Reuters report follows a previous report from Chinese publication Economic Daily News, citing Apple was expanding its autonomous car efforts, with possibly a 2021 debut of some sort.
Sorry, we’ve gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell, but this problem is far more tractable. We’re making rapid progress. Should be solved shortly.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2018
Building an electric car is not the same as building an iPhone. Apple may learn the hard way it’s not easy, as we’ve seen from Tesla’s efforts to mass produce the Model 3 and thus entering “production hell” as Elon Musk formerly stated.
It’ll be interesting to see how Apple will respond to Tesla and traditional automakers that already have electric vehicle plans in place.